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Dem convention: The ‘Super Bowl’ of politics

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, August 28th, 2008 at 3:58 pm in 2008 presidential election, Democratic politics, Political conventions.

It feels like a football game and rock concert mashed together only without the beer.

I’m sitting in Mile High stadium in Denver, home of the Denver Broncos, and Jennifer Hudson just sang the national anthem and fireworks just exploded. (At 4:15 in the afternoon? It was just a puff of smoke.)

The place is only about three-quarters full as people with brains opted to wait until the sun droipped a little lower in the horizon before they brave the traffic, long lines and plastic stadium seats.

Security is incredibly tight. Guards checked our press badges at least five times and I had to dump out my water lest it contain some unwelcome substance.

It’s hard to describe the sheer scale of this scene.

This stadium holds 75,000 people and that may not include the thousands of delegates on the field. I count six television platforms, including CNN. I can see Wolf Blitzer on-air right in front of me.

I’m learning what “laptop” really means, too.  This is by far the most challenging blogging conditions I have ever worked in. It’s unbearably loud. It’s 90 degrees and I’m in the sun. I can’t hear anything on the phone; thank goodness for texting on my new Blackberry.

There’s been a lot of talk about the stage. I can’t see it terribly well from here but it does have a certain temple quality to it with its Greek-style columns. I suspect the party planners wanted to evoke a sense of the birth of democracy allthough the Republicans put out a pretty funny email detailing recommended toga styles for conventioneers.

Some critics say this large stadium was a mistake for Obama, that it is too big and too grand for an America in a near recession. Some of the Californians expressed concern about the delegates’ ability to withstand so many hours sitting in folding chairs on a football field in the sun. This event started at 3:15 and won’t finish until 9.

Was it really necessary to have a six-hour floor session? There had been 90 speeches after three days. By the fouth day, what more could be said?

But tonight is what these delegates have been waiting for and given the heavy demand for tickets, this promises to be quite an interesting evening … if we don’t all melt first.

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